Minnie was rated in the March 2003 issue of "Australian Art Collector"
magazine as one of the 50 most collectable artists in Australia.
Born: c 1920
Died: March, 2006
Region: Central Desert
Language: Anmatyerre, Alyawarr
Social Affiliation: Pwerle subsection
Finalist 18th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award
National Gallery of Victoria
Art Gallery of South Australia
La Trobe University Collection
Art Gallery of NSW
Hank Ebes Collection
Queensland Art Gallery
Thomas Vroom Collection
2006 Solo Exhibition, "Memorial Exhibition", Gallery Savah, Sydney. NSW.
2004 Minnie Pwerele, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne.
2003 Solo Exhibition, "Sydney Art Fair", Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW.
2003 Minnie Pwerle Original & Authentic Aboriginal Art, Melbourne
2002 Solo exhibition, " Recent Paintings", Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW.
2001 Women Artists of the Australian Desert Auckland, New Zealand
2000 Minnie Pwerle Sydney
2002: Mixed Utopia exhibition at Knut Grothe Galeri, Charlottlenlund,Copenhagen.
2002: 'Paintings From Utopia"- combined exhibition at "Framed- The Darwin Gallery", Darwin, NT
2002 : Mixed Utopia exhibition at Galerie a Le Temps Du Reve, France.
2002: 'Contemporary Aboriginal Art From The Utopia Region"- combined Exhibition at BMGART, Adelaide, SA.
2002: 'Minnie's Country' Dacou Gallery, Adelaide, SA.
2002: 'Generations Utopia'- combined exhibition, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, Perth WA.
2002: Selected entrant in the 2002, 19th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
2002: 'A Collectable Aboriginal Art Event"- combined exhibition at Raintree Gallery, Darwin, NT.
2002: 'BIG COUNTRY small worlds'- solo exhibition at Fire-works Gallery Qld
2002: 'The Utopia Six', Flinders Lane Gallery, VIC.
2002: 'Awelye Atnwengerrp' Solo Exhibition at Dacou Gallery, Adelaide, SA.
2002: Heart and Soul Gallery in conjunction with Mbantua Gallery, Nashville, TN, USA.
2002: Urban Wineworks with Mbantua Gallery, Portland, Oregon, USA.
2002: Mbantua Gallery ? 'In the Cove', Portland, Oregon, USA.
2002: Chapman Gallery Group Exhibition, ACT.
2002: Mixed Utopia Exhibition, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT.
2002: Mixed Utopia Exhibition', Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW.
2003: 'My Grandmother and Me', World Vision, Walkabout Gallery, Sydney, NSW.
2003: 'Minnie Pwerle & Mitjili Napurrula', Japingka Gallery, Fremantle. WA.
2003: Group Exhibition, Art & Soul Gallery in conjunction with Mbantua Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
2003: Contemporary Aboriginal Art Event, Mbantua Gallery, Umpqua Bank, Oregon USA
2003: 'Art from the Dreamtime", Portland Art Museum in conjunction with Mbantua Gallery. Oregon, USA.
2004: 'Diva's of the Desert', Gallery Gonwana, Alice Springs, NT.
2005: "Utopia Revealed', Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA.
2005: Annual Group Exhibition 'Shalom', University of NSW, Shalom Department, Kensington, NSW.
2005: 'Small Wonders', Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT.
2006: 'The Pwerle Sisters,' Group Exhibition, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2006: Group exhibition, APS Bendi Lango Art Exhibition, Rio Tinto Offices, Melbourne, VIC.
2007: 'Standing on Ceremony', Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA.
2007: 'Utopia in New York' Robert Steele Gallery, New York. USA.
2007: Group Exhibition, Australian Embassy, Washington, USA.
2007: Group exhibition, "Desert Diversity", Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2007: 'Treasures of the Spirit', Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA.
2007: Group exhibition, APS Bendi Lango Art Exhibition with Rio Tinto, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, QLD.
2007: "New Works from Utopia", Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
2008: "Utopia Revisited", NG Art Gallery, Chippendale, NSW.
2008: Colours of Utopia, Gallery Savah, Sydney NSW
2008: "Atnwengerrp: Land of Dreaming", Minnie Pwerle carpet launch, Designer Rugs Showroom, Edgecliffe, NSW.
2008: "Emily and Her Legacy", Hillside Gallery in Tokyo, with Coo-ee Art Sydney in conjunction with the
landmark retrospective exhibition 'Utopia - the Genius of Emily Kngwarreye' at the National Art Centre,
2010: "Body Lines" Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane QLD.
2010: "The Australian Indigenous Art Market Top 100 Exhibition" Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Bondi NSW.
2010: "Minnie Pwerle and Emily Kame Kngwarreye", Kate Owen Gallery, Rozelle, NSW.
Ryan, Judith. Colour Power - Aboriginal Art Post 1984, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2004.
Birnberg & Kreczmanski, Aboriginal Artists dictionary of biographies, JB Publishing, (C).
Minnie Pwerle was born around 1910 in the Utopia region.
As one of 6 six children she enjoyed a colourful childhood,
later becoming the mother of 7 children of her own; Minnie
was always a well-loved member of a large family. Her country
is known as Atnwengerrp and her languages Anmatyerre and Alyawarr.
Minnie's career as an artist began through Aboriginal ceremony
and ritual. Her craft instigated by her appointment as a body
painter during Women's ceremonies. Body paint designs are worn
to represent Dreamings and various symbols specific to particular
rituals. Usually the upper body is covered in animal fat and
intricate designs painted on the chest, back and arms with paints
made from ochre's.
It was not until 1999 at approximately 80 + years of age, that
Minnie began painting on canvas. Her first series of works painted
at the Utopia Communities workshops were linear paintings, expressing
a bold, free-flowing, enigmatic style that quickly drew the interest
of critics and art lovers alike. The artists primary Dreamings include
"Awelye-Atnwengerrp" (Women's Dreaming), "Bush Melon", and "Bush Melon Seed".
The Bush Melon itself once bountiful in supply has slowly diminished
over time. The fruit could be eaten immediately or dried and stored
for later use. A plant specific to the Atnwengerrp region, Minnie's
Dreamings tell the story of a treasured delicacy that sustained her
people for long periods of time. Linear designs of circles, curves
and breast designs depict the "Bush Melon", while "Bush Melon Seed"
is represented by large and small patches of colour strewn across
the canvas. Lines of various width and colour represent the body paint
designs worn by the women during ceremony or "Women's Dreaming".
Minnie's more recent works have drawn comparisons to Emily Knwarreye's
"Wild Yam Stories" painted in the mid 1990's. Eclectic in nature, her
work seems to combine modernism, contemporary theory, impressionism and
Aboriginality while also expressing a story of her own sacred dreamings.
Her combination of historical visual styles and spiritual content promote
a sense of unity amongst two vary different spheres of influence.
As the mother of Barbara Weir and Betty Mbitjana, both well know Aboriginal artists, it
is clear that Minnie has successfully past on her talent. Her contributions
to the Aboriginal art movement have been invaluable, as a respected elder
of her community her work offers insight in to the spiritual world of the
Australian Aborigine, whilst providing visual art lovers with a striking,
and highly unique collection of works to enjoy.
(Notes courtesy of Jinta)